Friday, April 15, 2016

Building a painting, alla prima

My usual method of painting involves the classical technique of first doing a fully rendered drawing on paper, then transferring it to canvas or board. It's a bit more time consuming, as I've described in a previous post. But with live flowers, time is of the essence.

Here are the steps for drawing and painting all at once, or alla prima. It's also known as "direct" painting, as apposed to "indirect" painting when drawing is completed before beginning to paint.

So, below left is my set up with those robust ranunculus. The first stage on the prepared board shows marking placement of the vase with the central axis just slightly off-center making room for the shadow to help balance the composition. The far right image shows how the brush is held loosely for a more organic feel.

Once the vase placement is set, it's time to focus on those flowers since they will not last long. The loosely painted drawing below is done with thinned paint to allow for changes. It's like sketching with charcoal - if you make enough lines, eventually you can tell which ones work and which ones don't! In the second image thinner (gamsol) on a cloth is used to wipe out areas that are not working. 

Next the darks are indicated. Darkest values help establish movement through the composition so it's good to note early on where they should be. Last is the completed underpainting. In addition to acting as a drawing/road map for the painting, an underpainting connects all elements with a consistent, underlying tone.

In the group of images below the first pass of color has been established for the flowers (still holding off on the vase to focus on the fresh flowers). Then I worked the background around the flowers to integrate it with foreground objects while the paint is wet. Plus, creating soft edges in wet paint helps objects recede. Finally, the finished painting.

This one is called "Unruly Ranunculus." Because, if you know ranunculus, the stems just do their own thing! I actually needed a clothespin to weigh down the yellow flower on the right to keep it in position. Ranunculus are the most beautiful multi-multi-petaled flowers! Like roses that couldn't decide when to quit!
Unruly Ranunculus ©2016 Dorothy Lorenze, 8x8"
Happy Spring!

Thanks for joining me on my art journey. Wishing you a very creative season!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'd love to hear from you!